Monday’s Top Biotech Stories: Merck, Idenix, Achillion, and BioDelivery Sciences

Merck, Idenix, Achillion, and BioDelivery Sciences could all make big moves this Monday morning.

Jun 9, 2014 at 9:09AM

Longview

Let's take a quick look at four stocks -- Merck (NYSE:MRK), Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX), Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACHN), and BioDelivery Sciences (NASDAQ:BDSI) -- which could all loom large in health care headlines this Monday morning.

Merck buys Idenix for $3.85 billion
Shares of Idenix are up more than 236% in pre-market trading this morning, after announcing that it had entered a definitive agreement to be acquired by Merck for $24.50 per share in cash. That deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, values Idenix at approximately $3.85 billion.

Idenix does not have any marketed products. Its pipeline is comprised of four hepatitis C treatments -- two are in phase 2 trials, another is in phase 1 trials, and another one is still in preclinical trials. Idenix has also been suing Gilead Sciences in the U.S. and Europe, claiming that Gilead's popular hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, infringes upon its earlier patents.

Back in April, Merck unveiled interim phase 2 results for an oral combination of two experimental drugs (MK-5172 and MK-8742) for the treatment of genotype 1 of hepatitis C, the most common form of the disease. That combination, when administered with ribavirin, achieved a 94% cure rate without the need for interferon, which can cause flu-like symptoms.

Acquiring Idenix is clearly a way for Merck to diversify its hepatitis C pipeline to catch up to Gilead and AbbVie's efforts in the field. Merck shares are down slightly in pre-market trading.

Idenix news boosts shares of Achillion
Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, which also has a pipeline of four experimental hepatitis C treatments, have jumped over 30% in pre-market trading in response to the Idenix acquisition. However, investors should note that no offers have actually been announced for the company.

Investors should also remember that sovaprevir, one of Achillion's most promising pipeline candidates, was put on a clinical hold by the FDA last June due to abnormal liver results in patients. The company had hoped that the hold would be lifted last September, but to no avail. As a result, shares of Achillion have plunged more than 65% over the past 12 months.

The FDA approves BioDelivery Sciences' Bunavail
Shares of BioDelivery Sciences are set to open at a new 52-week high this morning, after the FDA approved Bunavail, its treatment for opioid dependence. The company believes the drug has peak U.S. sales potential of $250 million.

Bunavail is a mucoadhesive buccal film formulation of buprenorphine, designed to compete directly with Suboxone sublingual film. Sales of Suboxone sublingual film came in at $1.3 billion, in the $1.7 billion U.S. market for opioid dependence treatments, according to Symphony Health Solutions.

BioDelivery expects to launch Bunavail in the third quarter of 2014. BioDelivery has reached a deal with Ashfield Market Access to "provide managed markets and trade support" for the treatment. Bunavail will be BioDelivery's second approved product after Onsolis, a treatment for breakthrough cancer pain. However, BioDelivery only receives royalty revenue from Onsolis, since it previously signed the global marketing rights over to Meda.

BioDelivery is also testing another buprenorphine film, BEMA Buprenorphine, in phase 3 trials for moderate to severe chronic pain. Another pain treatment, Clonidine Topical Gel, is also in phase 3 trials for painful diabetic neuropathy.

Shares of BioDelivery have climbed more than 130% over the past 12 months, and are currently up nearly 3% in pre-market trading this morning.

Will this stock be your next multi-bagger?
Give us five minutes and we'll show how you could own the best stock for 2014. Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks one stock with outstanding potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on one of the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303% over the subsequent years! Believe me, you don't want to miss what could be his biggest winner yet! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.

Leo Sun owns shares of Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gilead Sciences. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers